A man during a labor protest in Helsinki in early February 2018. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Good news from the job market! There were 45,400 fewer unemployed job seekers than a year before at the end of August, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The total number of the unemployed job seekers was 243,300.

The number of unemployed job seekers was down by 40,800 from the previous month. These figures are from the Employment Bulletin of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

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The number of long-term unemployed—that is those who had been unemployed without interruption for at least a year—amounted to 73,300, down 29,000 on the previous year. The number of unemployed jobseekers over 50 years of age was 91,200, or 17,700 fewer than at the same time a year earlier.

Unemployment of 25-year-olds decreases

Unemployed jobseekers under 25 years of age numbered 31,500, representing a decrease of 5,100 from August last year. Among unemployed young people, the period of unemployment ended within three months on average in 67.7 percent of cases between January and August, which is 4.5 percentage points more than the year before.

According to Research Director Heikki Räisänen at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, some of the government’s measures regarding seeking employment in early 2017 are starting to show results.

At intervals of three months, the unemployed person has to show that they are actively looking for work by applying for a minimum number of jobs per week. On top of this, they have to complete five days of training provided by the employment office or 18 hours of paid part-time or earn at least 241.04 euros for entrepreneurial work.

In addition, about half of the folks have had their unemployment benefits reduced from 37.63 euros per working day to 35.88 euros. Monthly figures reduced from 752.60 to 717.60 euros before tax.

Increase in new vacancies

The number of available vacancies are also on the rise. There were 7,700 more new jobs than in August last year. The total number of vacancies was 59,000. In all, the number of unfilled vacancies at Employment and Economic Development Offices in August amounted to 104,400, which was 15,300 more than a year ago.

At the end of August, the number of people covered by services included in the activation rate amounted to 118,500, up 6,000 on the previous year. These services include pay subsidies, labor market training, work trials and self-motivated studies.

At the end of August, the number of people laid off was 12,700 in the whole country, which was 4,900 fewer than at the same time the year before. The number of people fully laid off totaled 6,800, representing a decrease of 2,500 from August the year before.

Unemployment rate 6.8 percent

According to the Labour Force Survey issued by Statistics Finland, in August the number of people in employment was up 64,000 on the previous year.

The employment rate was 72.6 percent, which was 2.1 percentage points higher than in August of the year before.

According to the survey, the unemployment total was 186,000, which is 16,000 fewer than a year ago. The unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, or 0.7 percentage points lower than the previous year.

Differences between the Statistics and the Survey

This information is based on the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s Employment Service Statistics and the Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland. The Employment Service Statistics of the Ministry are compiled on the basis of the information in the Employment and Economic Development Offices’ customer register, while the Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland is based on sampling.

In the Ministry’s Employment Service Statistics, people that are not in an employment relationship or employed in business are listed as unemployed.

People who are fully laid-off but not full-time students are also categorized as unemployed in the Employment Service Statistics.

The Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland has a stricter definition for being unemployed: a person is unemployed if he or she has actively sought employment during the preceding four weeks and is available for work over the coming two weeks.

The figures of the Labour Force Survey of Statistics Finland are internationally comparable and thus they are the official Finnish unemployment statistics.